This page hosts my gaming group take on the
Cards anthology. In case you don't know what I'm talking about,
Cards is a shared world series of books written by several science-fiction
and fantasy writers. The premise of the series is that, in 1947, a bomb
containing an alien virus was detonated over New York. Ninety percent of
those affected by the virus died, they drew the Black Queen. Nine percent
of the affected developed deformities, being called Jokers. The lucky one
percent left acquired paranormal abilities, and were called Aces.
The great appeal of the series resides in the fact that it tries to describe the effects that super powered people would have in the real world. Although things get more spectacular in the later books, the series manages to reach its goal. I think this is a great series, enjoyable and original.
There are fifteen books so far that describe the history of this alternate world, from 1946 to the present. A few years ago, Steve Jackson Games published a supplement for GURPS that described the series world in game terms, GURPS Wild Cards . This supplement was actually written by one of the series' writers, John J. Miller. This also made Wild Cards go full circle, since it started as a role-playing campaign which used the now defunct Superworld game.
The GURPS Wild Cards supplement contains rules on how to create yourself as a Wild Card character. This was very interesting and, since the series states that a few other cities suffered outbreaks of virus, including Rio de Janeiro, our hometown, we decided to play with ourselves as characters.
Below you will find information on our campaign, which includes player characters, non player characters, a brief summary of the campaign so far, a timeline for events in Rio after the outbreak of the virus and descriptions of locations.
The material presented here is my original creation (Fred Furtado ©1996-2008, except where the name of the author is mentioned, like the Mission Logs), intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.
We followed the instructions provided in GURPS
Cards and had everyone design themselves with 100 or fewer points.
However, we allowed people to either simply choose if they wanted to be
aces or jokers or roll on the table provided in the GURPS Wild Cards.
After that, you would add 150 points plus the ones you didn't use while
designing yourself, bringing the character up to 250 points. Ace characters
could only have up to 40 points in disadvantages, jokers could have up
to 100. I also tried to guide the power creation proccess by telling everyone
the concept of superpowers in the Wild Cards universe and how they
are intimately tied to one's psyche.
In order to simulate the higher powered wildcarder, we made everyone roll on the "'Ace/Joker" table again. If you got an "ace" result, you would roll 3d6 and multiply the result by 10, that was the number of extra points you had to design your character. This gave people a chance of playing a 280- to 430-point character. Only one of our players managed to get the extra points.
If you are familiar with the series, you'll notice that the player jokers are somewhat more powerful than the average joker in the book. The reason for that is the fact that, although we are playing in the world described in the books, we are still playing a game. It might be quite dramatic for a writer to be able to explore the challenges posed by being physically deformed, but it's not very fun to play it. That's why we allowed some latitude in joker character creation. This is addressed in the novels and the GURPS supplement, which calls these "super" jokers, joker/aces. Examples of powerful jokers in the books include Herne and Bloat.
Another thing that you might find strange is the fact that all of us survived the wild card virus. The probabilities of that happening are incredibly small, not to say almost non-existent. And, in fact, it didn't happen that way. Why, my own character drew the Black Queen. However, one of us did survive the infection and became a joker with probability manipulation powers. It was him who changed the probabilities and allowed all of us to survive, including me. You see, I didn't actually drew the Black Queen, I drew an ace which first manifestation was to "kill" me and then ressurect me.
This section contains the dates of the important events in Rio's Wild Card history. It's intended to function as a quick reference and will be updated as the players find out new information or some significant event, that the player characters knows, happens.
February 17th - First outbreak.
March 30th - Military coup. Military Dictatorship begins.
Military Dictatorship ends.
June - PCs draw the Wild Card.
In order to start a game in the Wild Cards version of Rio de Janeiro it is useful to know how many people were affected in the 1947 outbreak. Using the data available in the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia Estatística (IBGE), I came up with the following breakdown:
I still have to work out the population growth rate and the information from the Card Sharks trilogy to get the current numbers.
Here you can find a list of all the player characters, followed by their wildcarder nickname (when existent), status and ability. Characters followed by a KIA sign died during the campaign.
Adriana Vivacqua - ace telepath
Aki Ohnuki - ace duplicator
André "Batata" Barreto KIA - joker bat-man
Carla Codeço - joker/ace acrobat
Carlos Augusto (Caipora) - joker beastmaster
Cláudio "JJ" Bustamante - ace telekinetic
Fred Furtado - ace immortal, precog and manipulator (by the way, that's me)
Luis Augusto - joker/ace super strong martial artist
Marcel Montanheiro - joker/ace metal-bodied shapechanger
Paulino Soares - joker/ace probability manipulator
Non Player Characters
In this section you can find a list of all the important non player characters of the campaign, including all the famous aces and jokers, even if the players haven't met them yet. For the sake of organization, I have grouped the characters according to time period or affiliation. Nickname translations will be inside brackets. Characters followed by a KIA sign, died during the campaign.
First Outbreak (1947)
This section contains a brief description of the important geographic locations in the campaign. Like the other sections, it will be updated as the campaign proceeds.
Pavão Misterioso [Mysterious Peacock] [pah-VAUN mees-teh-ree-o-ZOO]
Famous bar and restaurant in Saramandaia owned by Celi.
Rio's Jokertown, Saramandaia occupies most of the neighborhood formerly known as Santa Teresa. Although it started to be settled soon after the first outbreak, the name came only during the seventies, after the first soap opera to have joker actors.
This section contains an account of the campaign. It's not as detailed as my other campaign's log because I didn't keep notes, but the relevant information is here.
This section will provide translations for words and expressions derived from Wild Card lingo.
Some links that you might find useful for your campaign.
Wild Cards Homepage
- An unofficial page with lots of information about the books and more
Supers-update - GURPS Wild Cards was designed for the first edition of GURPS Supers, but you can find a second edition update of the characters here.
Ipanema.com - An excellent page with everything you need to know about Rio, be it for traveling there or setting up an adventure in the Marvelous City (as we call it). It includes a pictorial tour of the city.
New Stuff - New Super Abilities from the writer of GURPS IST, Robert M. Schroeck.
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Last Update: 12-Feb-05